Religion | KUNC


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Right now, holidays, religious or otherwise, are being celebrated differently because of the state’s stay at home order and concerns over people gathering. Today, on the eve of Ramadan, we’re going to dig into how religious organizations are adapting the way they practice during the pandemic.  

Reverend Amanda Henderson, the executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado joined Colorado Edition to talk about how religious organizations are adapting the way they practice during COVID-19.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Approximately 100 protesters and counter protesters rallied outside the Windsor-Severance Library Saturday during the debut of a Drag Queen Story Hour program.

“I think visibility really matters,” said Emily Ambrose, holding a sign featuring the cover of the book “Daddy’s Roommate.” Standing next to her mother, Julia, Ambrose recalled protesting with her mom to keep that controversial book in her Juneau, Alaska elementary school’s library back in the early 1990s.

Representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are becoming more active in their opposition to a medical marijuana initiative in Utah this November.

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

The sometimes tense conversation about religious accommodation in the workplace is playing out in rural Colorado.

In Fort Morgan, 150 Muslim workers were fired in late 2015 after a dispute over prayer breaks at a Cargill meat packing plant.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

The walls of Donna Zofcin's humble Cheyenne, Wyoming, home are an homage to coal with framed watercolor prints of mining equipment. Living in the country's biggest coal state, it's a theme that runs throughout her life – even after her Kentucky coal mining husband passed away. So too, does her Catholic faith.

"Oh, we're very devout," Zofcin said of her and her family, "and we go to church every Sunday."

Pope Francis' recent encyclical on the environment has been both the biggest papal statement ever on the subject and a call for action on climate change. But for the faithful in western coal country, he is raising moral questions.


A federal lawsuit that alleges Greeley-based meatpacking company JBS USA engaged in wide-scale discrimination against Muslim employees is heading to trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer denied the company’s request for summary judgment in a case that stems back to 2008 when the company’s Greeley beef plant fired Somali Muslim employees who were requesting breaks be scheduled to coincide with prayer time during Ramadan, a month of the Islamic calendar that requires daytime fasting and prayer.

Poncie Rutsch / KUNC

The air at Rumi's House of Kabob, a middle-eastern restaurant in Greeley, is filled with the smells of roasting kabobs, sweet garlic, and warm pita. In the kitchen, you'll find Moein Shafie preparing salads and drizzling olive oil on hummus, while the chef roasts the meat and makes the rice.

It's not too different a scene than what you'll find in any restaurant, except that Moein and his sister Laya – who also works at Rumi's – are operating on empty stomachs. Both are working in the midst of Ramadan, a month of fasting, self-control and reflection observed by millions of Muslims the world over.

Fasting while they work in the restaurant is very different from fasting in Iran, where the two siblings grew up.

“Even if you didn’t fast, you weren’t allowed to eat in common areas of the school in front of other people,” explains Moein. “It’s like that in all public areas. You’re not allowed to get on the bus and have a sandwich in your hand. It’s a respect thing.”

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Two Republican religious freedom bills drew strong opposition from gay rights groups, civil liberties organizations and members of the business community Monday. The first bill, known as House Bill 1171 [.pdf], would have forbade government officials from constraining the exercise of religion had it not been struck down in committee.

The second bill, House Bill 1161 [.pdf], would have protected people from facing penalties for refusing to violate their beliefs and was also defeated.

Yusor Abu-Salha was one of the young students killed in Tuesday's shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C.

She and her former third-grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen, spoke to StoryCorps in May. In fact, all three victims in the shooting — Abu-Salha, 21, her husband, Deah Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 — attended the Al-Iman School in Raleigh, N.C., where Jabeen taught.

Jabeen returned to StoryCorps Wednesday to talk about that 2014 conversation with Abu-Salha.

Corita Kent's silkscreens were once compared to Andy Warhol's; her banners and posters were featured at civil rights and anti-war rallies in the 1960s and '70s; she made the covers of Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post; and she even created a popular postage stamp. Yet today, Kent seems to have fallen through the cracks of art history.